Remember how movies didn’t use to have dialogues? It was all about the beauty of the images in Black and White, and the performance of actors portraying characters through their facial expressions. Movies used to be simple without all the sound and special effects that now make us believe things that are non-existent.
French director Michel Hazanavicius decided to bring this back to life in 2011 with his new film “The Artist”. This French-American co-production is a black and white silent film set in the 1920s in Hollywood.
It follows the story of a famous silent film actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) whose career and fame is plummeting due to the new technological aspects of films implementing dialogue and sound in the late 1920s. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), a fresh face whose career as a “talking” actress was taking off falls in love with him, and the story follows their lives as they unfold in opposite directions in Hollywood.
Watching this film was truly an amazing experience. At the beginning, it was odd not to hear what they were saying and have to read it afterwards, not to mention the absolute silence in certain scenes where even the music would stop playing. Without even noticing I got used to it and it didn’t even bother me anymore. Again, it was all about the images, which were shot beautifully and flawlessly.
Since there wasn’t any spoken dialogue in the film, the presence of music or lack thereof, took care of setting the mood for each scene, doing a terrific job. It really felt like I was sitting in movie theater in the 1920s, and the only thing missing were the 1920s flappers and men wearing hats sitting around me.
I strongly recommend it! Go watch it, you won’t regret it.
Currently playing at Landmark E St and Bethesda Row Cinemas.